NEW YORK — Think you could go for the gold in your favorite sport? Apparently, many Americans do. Two in five people believe they have what it takes to be an Olympic athlete.
In a recent survey of 1,000 U.S. residents, 40 percent think they’re fit enough to compete in at least one summer or winter sport at the Olympics. That includes three times as many men as women (60% vs. 22%), half of all respondents from the Northeast (52%), and almost 70 percent of those under the age of 35.
Basketball, soccer, and swimming are particularly popular choices — alongside one amusing respondent who believes they can make the cut in “any one [sport] that is not stressful.”
I could do that!
Conducted by OnePoll, the study also delved into what Americans think of the five new events added to the 2020 Tokyo games: skateboarding, surfing, sport climbing, softball and baseball — which the International Olympics Committee (IOC) is recognizing as one category — and karate.
Although respondents are generally accepting of all five new events, roughly one in seven (14%) feel that the high-intensity rock climbing event should not be part of the Olympics.
On the other hand, softball/baseball and karate are receiving a much more positive reception, with nearly about two-thirds of respondents (66% and 61%) actively welcoming these events into the games this year. When researchers asked about worthy additions to future Olympics, Americans say they’d rather see mixed martial arts (42%) and lacrosse (40%) join the games rather than cheerleading (30%) — which the International Olympic Committee recently recognized as an eligible sport.
As of July 28, almost eight in 10 respondents say they’ve tuned in to some of the Olympic coverage this year. That includes 47 percent who watched the Opening Ceremony on July 23. By contrast, one in five respondents (17%) admit that they’re “very uninterested” in the proceedings this year.
Is it time for the Olympics to end?
Regardless of how much or little people are watching, 44 percent agree that the Olympics are “overrated,” including more men than women (52% vs 38%). Another 55 percent believe the Olympics should have been canceled this year rather than postponed. Meanwhile, 69 percent worry the event will trigger an increase in the global COVID-19 infection rate.
Forty-six percent even believe that the games should be hosted in a permanent structure rather than moving from host country to host country, mirroring the IOC’s recent sustainability policy that relies on already-existing stadiums for Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028.